From the Publisher Welcome to this sample (Chapter 8, “Dealing with Tests”) from the forthcoming third edition of Taking Charge: Your Education, Your Career, Your Life scheduled to be released for the 2012 fall semester. The original impetus in creating Taking Charge was to produce a college success textbook that directly tied college success skills to professional career success as well as personal growth. That’s especially important with the increasing trend of community and technical college students entering the workforce upon graduation as opposed to immediately moving on to a four-year college. To that end, the writing and research skills of the co-authors, Karen Mitchell Smith and Katharine O’Moore-Klopf, proved to be invaluable through the first two editions of this book. However, feedback solicited from instructors around the country combined with advances in digital publishing has resulted in this dramatically revamped third edition. Key features new to this edition include:
a four-color, magazine layout incorporating a variety of photos, infographics, and sidebars designed to make concepts more engaging and accessible; newly developed (and free) digital ancillary content, easily accessible from the printed book via QR codes and the ebook via enabled hyperlinks, including videos, downloadable documents, recommended websites and mobile apps, interactive polls, and more; “student disorientation” scenarios with a cast of recurring characters at the beginning of each chapter to set the stage for that chapter’s subject; and end-of-chapter crossword puzzles utilizing key terms and phrases.
There is one thing to note: given that this is sample, after all, and while the text on the pages themselves is firmly set, we still are developing content for the associated mobile pages linked to throughout. Please have patience with us as we create and upload that information over the next few months. That said, all of us at TSTC Publishing feel “hybrid textbooks” incorporating both the printed page and digital ancillaries are the next logical step in the development of higher education instructional materials. If you have a questions or comments, we would greatly appreciate your feedback (email us at email@example.com) and look forward to hearing from you. And, of course, feel free to visit the Taking Charge at its website, on Facebook, and/or Twitter for the latest news and developments!
Mark Long Publisher TSTC Publishing
TAKING CHARGE ;QWT'FWECVKQP ;QWT%CTGGT;QWT.KHG Third Edition
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Manufactured in the United States of America Third edition
Dealing with Tests
STUDENT DISORIENTATION Misha knew college would be hard, but she never anticipated spending an entire week at the library. Midterms were killing her. She had to beg friends to bring her food. Her sleep was cut down to an hour power nap whenever her eyes just wouldnâ€™t stay open anymore. She just needed to struggle through forty-eight more hours and then her midterms would be over. She hated that everyone else never seemed to have to study as much as she did. Aaron was looking through Alexander McQueen fashion shows with Ellen. Brad and Kristen were giggling over some stupid Youtube video of a sneezing panda. They had midterms tomorrow, too! Misha rested her head on her arms and mumbled about how it just wasnâ€™t fair. Someone shook her arm. She raised her head to see Aaron looking at her worriedly. â€œYouâ€™ve been sleeping for two hours. Your test is in thirty minutes. Shouldnâ€™t you be studying?â€? Misha thought her head had been down for thirty seconds max. She looked at the whiteboard and everything looked like gibberish.
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What does everyone have that nobody wants? Tests! We all face a test of some sort every day. Some tests are emotional, while others are ethical. Some are educational and still others are professional. No matter what area of life you consider, you will be faced with tests. How well you deal with your tests and how much integrity you use or lose on any given test all combine to help form your character. Itâ€™s not pleasant to think about, but the fun, easygoing times we experience are not what shape us. They are the times we like best, no doubt, but they arenâ€™t the times we look back on and say, â€œI really stepped up
to that challenge. Iâ€™m a better person for it.â€? Of course, the challenges you, as a student, are mostly concerned with right now are probably actual academic tests. Midterms, ďŹ nal exams, quizzes â€“ these determine your grade point average (GPA). Chapter Eight will address successful test taking to ease anxiety and help you strengthen your skills. Weâ€™ll also look at ways to pass other tests, the tests that may eventually matter most in life. From education to business to personal relationships, taking charge of your life means handling the challenges that come your way with integrity, common sense, and conďŹ dence.
Making the Grade in Your Personal Life Many people never give a momentâ€™s thought to the values that are most important to them. However, as you learn to think critically, you will ďŹ nd you begin to analyze certain situations you are faced with based on the value system you believe in. A hallmark of mature thinking is the ability to dissect information, situations, and concepts and look at the individual pieces in light of your own motivating beliefs. People who have not learned to think critically tend to react emotionally when situations take them by surprise. Having a set of well-deďŹ ned values will help you stay on course as you meet your personal challenges.
:KDWDUHYDOXHV" A value is a guiding principle that helps you make choices in life, and not just the big choices. When you decide to hold the door open for the person behind you, even if that person is perfectly capable of opening the door, youâ€™ve made a value-based decision, with politeness being your value. When you return the extra ďŹ fty cents in change that the cashier at Starbucks gave you, you are acting on the value of honesty. Conversely, you could hold negative values. Some examples are selďŹ shness, self-centeredness,
and apathy. Whether you hold positive or negative values, these are the qualities by which you live your life. Additionally, your reputation is primarily built on the values you hold, because people associate you with your actions.
:KDWLVWKHGLIIHUHQFH EHWZHHQHWKLFVDQGYDOXHV" The dictionary deďŹ nes ethics as a group of morals that characterizes certain actions as either right or wrong; in other words, ethics embody a set of basic principles that guides a personâ€™s or groupâ€™s actions. How is this diďŹ€erent from values? Ethics are something you either have or you donâ€™t, whereas everyone has values. The value choices you make indicate whether you are an ethical person. In their book Three Dimensional Ethics: Implementing Workplace Values, Attracta Lagan and Brian Moran write, â€œIndividuals have an innate need to make sense of the situations in which they ďŹ nd themselves.â€? When a deeply rooted, positive value system is combined with ethics, a person has a strong model through which to ďŹ lter his or her responses before taking action in a situation.
,QWHJULW\WKH6HFUHW,QJUHGLHQW Some studies have shown that even people with strong values may choose to behave unethically in certain situations. Thatâ€™s where integrity comes into play. Integrity is the adherence to values and ethical principles even when itâ€™s not convenient or, possibly, when no one would know the diďŹ€erence; it is what you are when no one is looking.
(;(5&,6( In your journal, identify the top four values you use when making decisions in your personal life.
.QRZWK\VHOI Chapter Six introduced Socratic philosophy, or rather, the teachings of the Greek philosopher, Socrates. One of his most famous directives is still quoted regularly today: â€œKnow thyself.â€? If you know who you are at your deepest level and if you know the values and ethics that guide you, you can live with the conďŹ dence that few situations can catch you oďŹ€ guard. You wonâ€™t be disappointed with yourself when crunch time comes, and it will inevitably come.
THE STAGES OF MORAL DEVELOPMENT Moral development is much like the process of physical maturity. We begin at baby steps and move through stages toward adulthood. Lawrence Kohlberg, a well-respected psychologist, studied the stages of moral development for his doctoral dissertation in 1958. He later published his ďŹ ndings in the book The Psychology of Moral Development, in which he proposed six stages of development. As you read, try to decide which stage best describes you: 56#)' â€œPlease the authority ďŹ gure.â€? In this stage, an act is considered bad if the person committing the act gets punished for it. The individual is not acting so much on what is right or wrong as on what he or she can get away with. 56#)' â€œYou scratch my back, Iâ€™ll scratch yours.â€? This is a â€œwhatâ€™s in it for
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meâ€? philosophy in which a person is mindful of other peopleâ€™s feelings and well-being only when it is in his or her own best interest. This is a very limited form of moral development because the ethical behavior stops when itâ€™s no longer beneďŹ cial to the individual. 56#)' â€œSelf-consciousness.â€? In stage 3, a person makes moral decisions based on societal norms, such as the Golden Rule and his or her personal relationships. The circle of inďŹ‚uence and respect is still very small, as opposed to taking a world view. The desire to conform is based solely on maintaining stereotypical roles. 56#)' â€œKeep the status quo.â€? At this stage of development, a person has become more mindful of societal rules and regulations, whether spoken or implied. The individual feels a need to
(;(5&,6( Review Kohlbergâ€™s six stages of moral development. Record your answers to the following questions in your journal and be prepared for class discussion.
conform and obey laws for the good of society, not just when itâ€™s convenient for him or her, as in stage 2, or when itâ€™s good for the group, as in stage 3. 56#)' â€œPersonal empowerment and social contracts.â€? At this stage, people begin to view laws as â€œsocial contractsâ€? that need to be changed when the greater good of the people is not met. Individuals also become more aware that not all people share the same ethical standards. People look for â€œmajority rule,â€? common ground, and the greatest good for the greatest number of people. 56#)' â€œDo the right thing precisely because it is the right thing.â€? At the ďŹ nal stage of moral development, individuals think in the highest abstract order possible â€“ projection. â€œWhat would it be like for me to be in that personâ€™s
shoes?â€? Laws are valid only when based on justice; unjust laws must be disobeyed (for example, Martin Luther King, Jr.â€™s civil disobedience and Rosa Parksâ€™ refusal to go to the back of the bus). People in this stage invest time in clarifying their personal values and principles, even when others disagree. A person acts because it is right, not because it is expected, lawful, or previously agreed on. As you read these stages, did you recognize yourself in one of them or perhaps a combination? Using this scale as a measuring rod. Are your morals and ethics developed as highly as youâ€™d like them to be? Fortunately, as adults, we have the ability to think abstractly and critically. If you did not like the stage you discovered yourself to be in, you have the ability to attain a higher stage simply through selfdiscipline, analysis, and practice.
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(WKLFDO0RGHOVDQG7HVWV An ancient Japanese proverb holds that â€œthe reputation of 1,000 years can be built on the act of one hour.â€? Consider some of the major political decisions made centuries ago. History books today still record the actions of the leaders who made those decisions. To help individuals attain higher moral development stages, psychologists have developed various ethical models and tests. The Mary Guy model, proposed in 1990, is probably the most popular among advocates of corporate social responsibility. Although the Mary Guy model was written for the workplace, it also is valid in our personal lives. The Mary Guy model has several steps. You must consider the wellbeing of others, including nonparticipants (in any given agenda, situation, etc.). You need to think as a member of the community, not as an isolated individual. This emphasizes loyalty, integrity, respect for others, and responsible citizenship. Obey but do not depend solely on the law. This point emphasizes integrity and social responsibility. Ask â€œWhat sort of person would do such a thing?â€? anytime you are confronted with an ethical dilemma. Finally, you must respect the customs of others, but not at the expense of your or your organizationâ€™s ethics. This emphasizes accountability, fairness, integrity, and respect for others. When you are confronted with an ethical or moral decision, whether great or small, there are a few tests to help you stay on the right track. In the sunlight test, you ask yourself how you would feel if this decision was made in front of the public or in front of those you admire. The newspaper test takes this one step further by asking how the decision would look on the front page of a newspaper or how you would feel defending yourself on, for instance, 60 Minutes. In the test of time, ask yourself how your behavior would be viewed in ďŹ ve, ten, or twenty years. One of the most well-known, the Golden Rule has you ask yourself how you would feel if someone did the same thing to you.
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If you ďŹ lter your actions through these questions, you are sure to make good, healthy decisions. Before we move on to the types of tests and ethical decisions you will make in your education life, consider these ďŹ ve ethical principles, published by the North Carolina State University Center for Student Leadership, which will guide you in all areas of life: Â‡ 5HVSHFWLQGLYLGXDOLVP Everyone has a right to their own beliefs, customs, and opinions, as long as their actions do not interfere with the welfare of others. Â‡ 'RQRKDUP We all have a social responsibility to avoid inďŹ‚icting harm or damage, either physically, psychologically, or environmentally. Â‡ %HQHILWRWKHUV We each have an obligation to do good when we can. Â‡ %HMXVW Treat others with the fairness you desire. Â‡ %HIDLWKIXO Keep your word. Tell the truth. Be a person others can count on when they need someone to help them. We can only be seen as trustworthy when we are faithful.
Making the Grade in Your Education Life Few things strike fear in the heart of a college student the way midterms and ďŹ nal exams do. The pressure of knowing your ďŹ nal grade rides only on two, or possibly three, exams can induce anxiety, stress, and even physical illness. Knowing how you learn best and having a strategy for building strong study habits will lessen your concerns, help you overcome issues such as test anxiety, and give you a greater chance at academic success.
Test anxiety is a very real psychological condition that many students experience. Symptoms include the following: â€˘ Profuse sweating, especially on the palms â€˘ Shallow breathing â€˘ Dizziness â€˘ Rapid heartbeat â€˘ Nausea â€˘ Racing thoughts, a feeling of â€œgoing blank,â€? or inability to recall information â€˘'HDOLQJZLWK7HVWV9
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If you experience any of these symptoms during or before exams, you have test anxiety. Sometimes this type of anxiety can be linked to previous negative experiences in the classroom or to a deep-rooted fear of failure. Sometimes students need professional help from a psychologist or counselor to conquer test anxiety. There are several ways to manage text anxiety, and each works differently for every person. When you feel overwhelmed, there are some techniques you can use. Keep a realistic perspective. Take a step back and consider the consequences from a realistic viewpoint. It is important to recognize that one mistake, one low grade, or one bad performance does not equal failure or mean that youâ€™re worthless. Practice deep breathing. Breathing deeply has been proven to regulate heartbeat, reduce sweating and nausea, and relieve anxiety. Inhale deeply with your mouth open. Hold the breath for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through your nose, letting your stomach sink inward. Repeat this ten or ďŹ fteen times, or until you feel calmer. Use progressive muscle relaxation. Tension causes us to tighten our muscles unconsciously. Focus on one particular muscle group at a time, such as your shoulders, tightening as you breathe in and relaxing as you breathe out. Move progressively to your arms, torso, and lower body with each breath. Proper preparation is the best relief for test anxiety. According to a study conducted by Questia Media, Inc., 79 percent of students reported that they would most likely procrastinate on their next assignment, even though 72 percent of them agreed that procrastinating did not help their grades. Studying at the last minute makes you feel less conďŹ dent of your ability to recall important information, but being able to anticipate what the exam covers and knowing that you gave yourself enough time to study will help you feel more relaxed at exam time. Being well prepared also will lessen the temptation to compromise your values. We cannot stress enough the importance of behaving ethically when it comes to your exams and projects. Most schools view cheating as grounds for expulsion. Simply put, keep your eyes on your paper, do your own work, and stick to your values and ethics.
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, -. /% If you understand a bit about how students learn in general and the way you learn best in particular, you will retain more of the material that your instructors cover.
In the mid-twentieth century, Benjamin S. Bloom developed his taxonomy of learning, which involved three domains, each with several levels. It was his belief that we canâ€™t address a higher level within a domain until we have covered the lower levels. The cognitive domain refers to the way you deal with knowledge and events intellectually. In this domain, you process things by remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and ďŹ nally creating new knowledge based on what you have learned. The aďŹ€ective domain refers to the way you deal with knowledge and events emotionally. In this domain, you approach things by receiving, responding, valuing (assigning a value to it), organizing and conceptualizing, and characterizing them by value or value concept. The psychomotor domain refers to the way you deal with knowledge and events physically. Bloom didnâ€™t ďŹ nish his work on this domain; several researchers have come up with a more complete version. In this domain, according to R.H. Daveâ€™s book Developing and Writing Behavioral Objectives, you approach things by imitating, manipulating, reďŹ ning (achieving precision), articulating, and naturalizing them (performing it at such a high level that it comes naturally to you, almost without thought) Depending on your learning style, you may ďŹ nd you process new information better in one domain than in the others. Once you discern which learning domain helps you retain new information the best, go with it every time.
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Learning Styles DiďŹ€erent people learn best in diďŹ€erent ways because of the way their brains are wired. Do you recognize your learning style in the following list? Â‡ 9LVXDOVSDWLDO Images are the best way to convey information to you. Add images to your class notes, including maps and diagrams, to use as memory cues. Â‡ $XUDODXGLWRU\RUPXVLFDO Sounds and music help you remember things. Reread your notes out loud to yourself. Fit facts to a short, familiar tune and sing it to yourself several times.
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Â‡ 9HUEDOOLQJXLVWLF Spoken and written words help you lock in information. Review your notes and then rewrite them in longhand or type them and in your own words, as if you had to explain the information to a friend.
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Â‡ 3K\VLFDONLQHVWKHWLF When you can do it, you know it. Sitting still for long periods isnâ€™t for you. That new routine you learned in dance class? Donâ€™t just look at your notes â€“ perform until you get it down. Listen to a recorded classroom lecture on headphones while you go for a walk. Whatever youâ€™re studying, take frequent breaks to get up and move around. Â‡ /RJLFDOPDWKHPDWLFDO Analyzing information logically and categorizing it cements new knowledge for you. Reorganize your class notes as a table, graph, or diagram. Seek out online simulators where you can practice the tasks youâ€™ve been learning in laboratory assignments. Â‡ 6RFLDOLQWHUSHUVRQDO You like to learn in groups, not on your own. Put together a study group after classes; have members take turns explaining the study material to the entire group. Â‡ 6ROLWDU\LQWUDSHUVRQDO You like to learn on your own. Study in a quiet place away from other students, such as a library study carrel, and wear noise-masking headphones. Keeping a journal for each class will hone your analysis of the subjects youâ€™re studying.
/HDUQLQJ'LVDELOLWLHVDQG0XOWLVHQVRU\ 7HDFKLQJDQG/HDUQLQJ You may be surprised to ďŹ nd out that 4 to 6 percent of all students in the United States have some kind of learning disability, including attention1HXURORJLFDOO\EDVHGSURFHVVLQJ GLIĂ€FXOWLHVWKDWFDQLQWHUIHUHZLWK deďŹ cit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), auditory processing disorder, dysOHDUQLQJEDVLFVNLOOVVXFK graphia (a disability that aďŹ€ects written expression), and dyslexia (a reading DVUHDGLQJZULWLQJDQGPDWK disability). The Learning Disabilities Association of America (www.ldanatl. DQGRUZLWKKLJKHUOHYHOVNLOOV org) deďŹ nes learning disabilities as neurologically based processing probVXFKDVRUJDQL]DWLRQWLPHSODQ lems that can interfere with learning basic skills, such as reading, writing, QLQJDQGDEVWUDFWUHDVRQLQJ and math, and/or with higher-level skills, such as organization, time planning, and abstract reasoning. If you have a learning disability, you may beneďŹ t from multisensory teaching and learning. In this setting, the instructor engages studentsâ€™ three learning senses: auditory (hearing and speaking), visual (seeing and perceiving), and kinesthetic (touch and movement). You can use multisensory learn!"#$$%"#$ % !"#$ $%"#$ % ing techniques to help yourself better understand new information and retain knowledge. 2Q7KH:HE 2Q 7KH :HE If your learning disability aďŹ€ects your )RUPRUHLQIRUPDWLRQDERXW )RUPRUHLQIRUPDWLRQDERXW organization and time-planning skills, it is 0XOWLVHQVRU\7HDFKLQJDQG 0XOWLVHQVRU\7HDFKLQJDQG imperative you use a master schedule and /HDUQLQJYLVLW daily planner. Many students like you ďŹ nd that their lives are transformed by conscienKWWSELWO\7&PXOWLVHQVRU\ tious use of an online calendar or cellphone that allows them to set reminders about upcoming events. After all, who wants to forget to study for an exam or to show up for a class? &'
2YHUOHDUQLQJ One way to lessen test anxiety is to increase your conďŹ dence through overlearning. This learning technique involves continuing to study or practice material youâ€™ve already mastered. German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus conducted several experiments in the late 19th century on how the human mind works. He discovered that overlearning increased how much information people retain. Think of amateur and professional athletes: Do they stop practicing a particular skill or maneuver once theyâ€™ve learned it? No. Youâ€™ll see them waiting for a game or competition to begin, practicing a lunge, a jump, a back ďŹ‚ip, a pitch, a swing, a throw, a kick. They didnâ€™t learn these maneuvers just before the game or competition; theyâ€™ve been practicing for weeks, months, or even years. If you repeat to yourself â€“ aloud, on paper, on a computer screen, or by performing â€“ the materials youâ€™ve already learned, youâ€™ll know them so well your conďŹ dence will shoot up at testtaking time. The popular SQ3R â€“ which stands for survey, question, read, recite, and review â€“ reading strategy will help you remember the material from each reading assignment:
6XUYH\ Before you start reading, survey the chapter or material by looking at all of the elements â€“ the title, headings, subheadings, captions, illustrations of all kinds, review questions, study guides, beginning and ending paragraphs, and summary. This will help you get an idea of what you will be learning.
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4XHVWLRQ While you are surveying, think of questions. Turn the title and all subheadings into questions. Read the end-of-chapter or end-of-section questions. Think, â€œWhat did the instructor say about this material? What do I already know about this topic?â€? Write down or type these questions for later use in studying.
5HDGBegin reading. As you go along, be alert to material that answers the questions you developed. Answer the questions at the end of the chapter or of each section or on the classroom study guide. Pay attention to words and phrases that are treated diďŹ€erently than others; if theyâ€™re italicized, bolded, or underlined, they are pointers to especially important information. If you reach a diďŹƒcult or unclear section, slow down and reread until you understand it.
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5HYLHZ Now itâ€™s time to review what youâ€™ve read. As with many other learning-retention methods, this is an ongoing process to help you retain your new knowledge. On the ďŹ rst day of your review, write questions next to terms youâ€™ve highlighted in the margins. Now go back to the notes you wrote as part of the reciting process. Review them and write questions in the margins of your notebook.
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On the next day, skim the chapter and your notes to remind yourself of the relevant information. Then put away the textbook and the notes and ask yourself questions about the material. Answer aloud. Next, make ďŹ‚ashcards for the questions you have trouble answering, and then create mnemonic devices to help you memorize information. On days three through ďŹ ve, switch back and forth between using your ďŹ‚ashcards, mnemonic devices, and notes to test your knowledge of the material. If you need to, make more ďŹ‚ashcards. On the weekend, use your notes and the text to create a table of contents of all of the major and minor subjects you must learn. Use this to create a study sheet or diagram. Say the information aloud as you assemble your study sheet, using your own words. Until the exam, go 14 <RXU(GXFDWLRQ<RXU&DUHHU<RXU/LIH
over your study sheet every so often to keep the material fresh in your mind. That way, you wonâ€™t feel the need to pull an all-night study session before the exam.
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Having trouble keeping up with all those homework assignments? Soshiku helps you keep track of what assignments are due and when. This tool also allows you to set up group projects. You can chat, exchange notes, and share ďŹ les with group members. It will even notify you via email or text message to let you know whatâ€™s coming up on your schedule.
0RUH6WXG\6WUDWHJLHV â€˘ Stay up-to-date on class information, keeping up with your syllabus assignments. Review your notes as you go along. â€˘ Make sure you understand the information. If you donâ€™t, ask your instructor. â€˘ Read and study information in meaningful chunks (sections or chapters) so youâ€™ll be able to ďŹ le and retrieve related information. â€˘ Break your study times into manageable time segments so you donâ€™t become overwhelmed with information. Youâ€™ll remember more by studying for shorter times (forty-ďŹ ve minutes to an hour) over a period of a week than by studying everything in one all-nighter. â€˘ Use mnemonic techniques to memorize lists, deďŹ nitions, or other speciďŹ c facts. An example of a mnemonic device is ROY-G-BIV, an acronym for the colors of the rainbow â€“ red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. â€˘ Practice healthy habits. Get plenty of sleep and make sure you arenâ€™t ďŹ lling up on sugars and other junk foods that will give you sugar rushes and leave you feeling sleepy and groggy in the middle of your exam. â€˘ If youâ€™ve taken time to prepare eďŹ€ectively, using all of these suggested techniques, you should be able to approach your exam with conďŹ dence.
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0HPRU\DQG<RXU%RG\ Your memory functions best when you treat your body well â€“ getting enough sleep, getting enough exercise, and eating well. Getting less than six and a half hours of sleep a night can decrease your academic performance. Keep the same bedtime and rising time each day; donâ€™t consume caďŹ€eine, nicotine, or food within two hours of your bedtime; and limit your alcohol intake or donâ€™t drink it at all. Exercising regularly will give you more energy and help you focus. Exercise improves your focus by increasing blood ďŹ‚ow to your brain. It also decreases your stress level, which is a very good thing at test time. Get k Quic out there and get moving for a minimum of sixty minutes â€“ whether all in one stretch or in shorter spurts throughout the day â€“ every single day. Finally, keep your memory humming along by giving your brain the proper fuel â€“ nutritious foods and plenty of water. You need the natural )HHOLQJGURZV\ZKLOHVWXG\LQJ"(YHU\ sugars and energy of fresh fruits and vegetables, ďŹ ber, and protein. You even need a little fat in your diet, but donâ€™t go overboard. If you take care KRXUJHWXSDQGGRVRPHWKLQJ of your body â€“ and study, of course â€“ your memory will take care of you SK\VLFDOOLNHMXPSLQJMDFNVSXVK at exam time. Make every eďŹ€ort to earn the highest grades possible, but donâ€™t lose XSVMRJJLQJLQSODFHRUVWUHWFKLQJ sight of the whole purpose of your education â€“ for you to learn. If you 7KDWEULHIELWRIH[WUDEORRGIORZZLOO donâ€™t make a straight 4.0 GPA, it does not mean you have not learned the KHOSFOHDUWKHIRJIURP\RXUPLQG information you will need in your career. You will leave college with a wide DQGNHHS\RXIURPJHWWLQJWRRVWLII variety of knowledge, and when you apply it with careful, critical analysis, the ďŹ nal test question will be, â€œDid you learn how to do the job you set out ZKLOHVWXG\LQJ to do?â€?
Making the Grade in your Professional Life Your career will bring many challenges and opportunities for personal growth and development. From continuing-education requirements to maintaining various certiďŹ cations to on-thejob training (OJT) and evaluations to performance reviews, your test-taking days are certainly not over when you leave college. For many careers, it is important to pursue continuing education in order to stay up to speed with changing technologies, policies, and procedures. You may ďŹ nd you need to take a course or two or even return to school for another degree in order to stay up-to-date with the skill sets necessary for your career.
:K\'R,1HHG&RQWLQXLQJ(GXFDWLRQ" Continuing education refers to classes you take once you have earned your degree or certain certiďŹ cations associated with your career. Many teachers, for example, are required to attend ongoing classes and update their certiďŹ cations every two years, depending on when they ďŹ rst earned their teaching certiďŹ cates. Various engineering and technological jobs also require their certiďŹ cate holders to engage in ongoing education. Typical continuing-education unit (CEU) requirements are ten hours of education completed every two years, often followed by an exam, but this can vary from career ďŹ eld to career ďŹ eld. This ensures the professional stays abreast of changing technologies, techniques, and compliance issues. Many times your employer will pay for your CEUs and/or for your exam, but this is not always the case. You should ask any potential employer during your job interview about their policies regarding CEUs, as this can be part of your total beneďŹ ts package and may be a point of negotiation. There are numerous CEU accrediting bodies, depending on the type of work you are engaged in. The instructors for your major courses will serve as excellent information sources on speciďŹ c continuing-education requirements in your ďŹ eld. Additionally, various product manufacturers oďŹ€er continuing training courses and certiďŹ cation exams. Many of the positions that graduates of two-year technical colleges hold may require this kind of training.
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Earning a college degree means you have an extensive amount of general knowledge about a variety of subjects. It does not make you a specialist. Most employers put new employees through on-the-job training (OJT) to ensure the employee has the company-speciďŹ c, or product-speciďŹ c, knowledge needed to function within that organization.
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(;(5&,6( Make time to meet with your advisor or lead instructor in your major area of study. Ask what types of on-the-job training you can expect in your career ďŹ eld. Document the answers in your journal. This shouldnâ€™t make you feel as if you just wasted two years at college. college In fact, the complete opposite is true. Most likely, you would not have been able to get the job without the educational background you received in college, but now your employer needs to ďŹ ne-tune the general information you learned to help you apply it accurately for the organizationâ€™s speciďŹ c needs. In technical ďŹ elds, some employers even send their new employees to several monthsâ€™ worth of manufacturersâ€™ schools to learn how to work on the speciďŹ c equipment used in that companyâ€™s operations. Most OJT is followed by a formal exam or set of exams. Youâ€™ll need to study for these exams just the way you did for any college exam, using the strategies outlined in the learning and test-taking section of this chapter. Showing your employer you are eager to be a lifetime learner will go a long way at performance review time.
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Performance reviews are the way employers measure their employeesâ€™ productivity, attitudes, and accomplishments during a given time period. Typically, your performance reviews will be tied to the timetable used in your company for calculating raises. Some companies conduct reviews quarterly, some every six months, and some annually. You can expect at least one review annually. Performance reviews often cause anxiety and fear in employees, so you may want to refer to the anxiety reducers outlined earlier in the chapter. If you have done the best work possible, have maintained a positive attitude, and have behaved ethically at all times, you should have nothing to worry about. You can expect your evaluation to begin with a review of the goals that were set when you started your job or during your last evaluation. Then your reviewer (typically your supervisor) will go over how well you have met those goals and which goals you still need to work on. Much of your review will be subjective â€“ that is, based on opinion of how well youâ€™ve done your job â€“ but other sections will use concrete facts such as sales numbers or number of service calls. You will probably be asked to evaluate your own performance as well. Be honest but not self-deprecating. Point out the things you did well, downplay but donâ€™t ignore your weaknesses, and, above all, do not inďŹ‚ate numbers or outcomes. At the conclusion of your review, your manager will work with you to set future goals and determine which current goals you should still try to reach.
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One thing most employers look for in 2Q7KH:HE employees is a high standard of ethics. In high-pressure careers, the temptation to KWWSELWO\7&SHUIRUPDQFH fudge facts and numbers for your own ben7KH&DUHHU3ODQQLQJVHFWLRQDW 7KH&DUHHU3ODQQLQJVHFWLRQDW eďŹ t can become very tempting. Most likely, $ERXWFRPSURYLGHVDIHZWLSVIRUSUHSDULQJIRU $ERXWFRPSURYLGHVDIHZWLSVIRUSUHSDULQJIRU you will ďŹ nd other employees at your job who DQXSFRPLQJSHUIRUPDQFHUHYLHZLQWKHDUWLFOH DQXSFRPLQJSHUIRUPDQFHUHYLHZLQWKHDUWLFOH do it regularly and never get caught. Personal Â´+RZWR3UHSDUHIRUD3HUIRUPDQFH5HYLHZDQG Â´+RZWR3UHSDUHIRUD3HUIRUPDQFH5HYLHZDQG accountability is the highest measure of eth:KDWWR'RLI<RX*HWD%DG2QH ics and has nothing to do with whether you might get caught. Personal accountability means you do what is right because it is right. You tell the truth and take the consequences. You donâ€™t make promises you canâ€™t keep just because the pressure to do so is great. You donâ€™t take an extra thirty minutes at lunch just because your boss isnâ€™t following you to your service calls with a stopwatch.
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Even though you have a high standard of ethics, it doesnâ€™t mean everyone around you will also have the same standards. There may come a time in your professional life when you see someone being harassed at work, or perhaps you may even be the victim. Too many times, victims of harassment donâ€™t speak up because they fear they will lose their job. Knowing how to use a â€œladder of escalationâ€? can empower you to speak out when you need to, whether on your behalf or on someone elseâ€™s. Speak up. If you see someone at work being discriminated against or harassed, approach the person and encourage them to speak up. If they feel supported, they may garner the courage to confront the issue. If you are the one being harassed, confront your persecutor. Bullies will bully as long as no one calls them out. If the inappropriate behavior continues, take the issue to the next person in authority. This would normally be the immediate supervisor, unless that person is the one causing the problem, in which case, speak with his or her supervisor. Make a formal complaint. If the issue cannot be resolved at the management level, consider ďŹ ling a formal complaint with your human resources department. However, diďŹ€erent companies have varying views of whistle blowers. You must decide whether you are willing to risk your job, or possibly future promotions, to help someone else who is being harassed. Seek independent counsel. Many companies have ethics committees for reporting abuse or breeches of company principles. Additionally, in some states you can contact a special state workforce organization, which acts as a mediator between employers and employees with ethical conďŹ‚icts. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also handles such cases.
Conclusion Personal accountability teaches that the burden of your success or failure is primarily on you. Yes, we are often shaped by our circumstances, but the fact remains that we can rise above our circumstances. Many of the challenges you will face will be tests of character or knowledge, whether personal, educational, or professional. The way you choose to meet those tests will determine your success in all areas of your life. Planning ahead, having a study strategy that ďŹ ts your particular learning style, knowing what you stand for, and ďŹ‚exing your ethical muscle whenever possible will help you overcome virtually any challenge life throws your way.
Further Reading Test-Taking Strategies, by Judi Kesselman-Turkel and Franklynn Peterson. Wisconsin University Press: 2004. Pocket Guide to Study Tips, by W. H. Armstrong. Barronâ€™s: 2004.
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Across 5. A very real psychological condition that many students experience. 9. The way(s) in which you learn best. 10. You like to learn on your own. 11. Classes that you take once you have earned your degree or certain certifications associated with your career, to ensure that your knowledge of your profession remains current. 12. Sounds and music help you remember things. 15. Name of chapter 8 17. When you can do it, you know it. 18. You like to learn in groups, not on your own. Down 1. Neurologically based processing difficulties that can interfere with learning basic skills. 2. A system of three domains, or areas, of learning, each having several levels. 3. A learning technique that involves continuing to study or practice material that youâ€™ve already mastered.
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4. The Stages of Moral ____________. 6. The illiterate of the twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. 7. A strategy that helps you learn new reading material. 8. This tool also allows you to set up group projects. You can chat, exchange notes, and share files with group members. 13. Images are the best way to convey information to you. 14. Spoken and written words help you lock in information. 16. Analyzing information logically and categorizing it cements new knowledge for you.
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Professional and Olympic athletes do not become stars overnight. By constantly practicing and disciplining their bodies, athletes are able to excel in their sport of choice. The same is true for students, says Faculty Professional Development OďŹƒcer Aprilsue Grulick. â€œLearning happens by doing something repeatedly with concentration,â€? Grulick says. Challenging school subjects cannot be mastered overnight either. By taking the extra time to practice and study new things, students exercise their brains and become smarter. Learning new concepts causes new neuron connections to form in the brain, Grulick says. Continued practice and repetition of these concepts creates stronger connections and improves long-term memory. Grulickâ€™s role involves training new faculty how to use the latest teaching and learning strategies to optimize student success, helping professors revise and improve their syllabi and course materials, and supporting instructors by oďŹ€ering various workshops. She also hosts math anxiety workshops for students. Because of her love for math while earning her degrees, Grulickâ€™s college professors and mentors encouraged her to study engineering. Throughout her educational and professional career, Grulick displayed her determination to succeed by overcoming a slight issue with dyslexia. She received her associate degree in robotics at a local community college and then at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio, she also earned her bachelorâ€™s degree in technical education and a masterâ€™s degree in curriculum development.
Her love of math and the â€œvisual and tactile natureâ€? of robotics led her to a career teaching the subject and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) for several years. Grulick says she developed a passion for education while in college. â€œI like everything about education and wanted to be a math teacher all my life,â€? she says. The only female in many of her math and engineering classes, Grulick says math was always easy for her until she failed her ďŹ rst calculus. She retook the class twice because she was determined to succeed in learning the material. After ďŹ nding an isolated spot in the library she began to read and copy examples from her text book. She repeated this several times until she began to understand the examples. After she understood the concept, she closed the book and tried to work the problems by herself. By practicing math problems in this way and reviewing before the professorâ€™s lecture, Grulick went from Fs to As on her calculus tests. Several of her classmates saw her success and asked her to tutor them. She discovered her interest in teaching when she began tutoring the guys in her class and helping them improve. Tests are necessary in college for professors to determine what students have learned. Tests also enable instructors to give students accurate feedback. However, many students suďŹ€er from test anxiety. To overcome anxiety, Grulick says students need to change their negative thinking. â€œAttitude is everything,â€? she says. â€œStop telling yourself youâ€™re dumb and canâ€™t do it.â€? â€œNegative self thoughtsâ€? prevent students from having conďŹ dence in their potential, limiting how much eďŹ€ort and concentration they put into learning new material. Grulick believes every student has the ability to learn new concepts and encourages them to strengthen their minds by using proven strategies to overcome math anxiety. Students also can take practical steps to minimize the anxiety of test taking. Beginning to study a week before the test and getting a good nightâ€™s rest the night before will lessen stress and help students feel prepared. Eating a wholesome meal before a test also will give students energy to perform their best. Grulick says students who cram the night before a test or try to â€œwing itâ€? weaken their conďŹ dence and become anxious. Cramming puts information into short-term memory. Stress causes blood vessels in the brain to shrink, causing short-term memory loss, she says. Grulick says there are a variety of support systems that provide free assistance to students. Asking instructors for help, getting a tutor, and attending a math lab are just some of the options available. Grulick says if students want to excel at a subject, they need to realize the work involved and be willing to put in the time and eďŹ€ort. â€œWe can be as good as we want to be at almost anything if we try hard enough,â€? she says. â€œIf I can succeed while having a learning disability, others can, too."
;QWT)WKFGVQ5WEEGUUHWN2GTUQPCN 'FWECVKQPCPF%CTGGT&GXGNQROGPV Typically, college success textbooks focus on traditional higher education academic skills: note taking, test strategies, and research. However, in response to the increasing trend â€” especially at two-year colleges â€” of students immediately entering the workforce upon graduation, Taking Charge directly contextualizes these academic skills with the soft skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. In addition, all the subject areas covered in the book are related to personal growth as well so that students may see that these skills are not used in isolation but are, rather, an integral part of the ongoing development everyone experiences in their lives.
FEATURES IN TAKING CHARGE: YOUR EDUCATION, YOUR CAREER, YOUR LIFE INCLUDE: â€˘ Personal, educational, and career applications relating to each chapterâ€™s subject â€˘ Chapters focusing on goal setting, time management, ďŹ nancial planning, critical thinking, research, written and interpersonal communications, the diverse and non-hostile work environment, and much more â€˘ Success stories at the beginning of each chapter proďŹ ling faculty, staff, and graduates â€˘ Additional suggested resources as well as individual and group exercises designed to increase student comprehension and internalization of concepts presented
KAREN MITCHELL SMITH earned her English degree from Texas Tech University in 1985 and since then has been a college recruiter, teacher and long-time writer. An accomplished motivational speaker, she also presents seminars for educators and high school students.
KATHARINE Oâ€™MOORE-KLOPF, a graduate of the University of Houston, began her career as a journalist in Texas, and then moved into production editing and copyediting for publishers in Colorado and New York City. She has been a self-employed copyeditor of books and peer-reviewed journal articles since 1995.
More information about this book as well as other books from TSTC Publishing may be found at publishing.tstc.edu
Published on Mar 7, 2012
This college success textbook links the skills necessary to succeed in higher education with career success and personal growth. This new t...